Well, what is there if not this?
Private screenings in our rooms and worlds away.
Have today, then take five
from a year I knew, you’d said, could come to nothing
and its true. I moved a full five floors down to escape.
But this darn screen’s the same.
That mug that touched your lips is still chalk white,
the mattress where we lay held countless bones
and sprung them through the night. The pillowcase,
the view, the lights
are in our brains and in my sights
that oversaw our numbered games
Pickup lines at ninety-odd degrees
from the turn of the seasons,
this time no lily pads to hide our eyes under.
The trees are pulling out their hair
in want, to fix spit-staggered revelations
streaming petals and the ones that miss us
swallow ripples, are carried and then kiss.
The contract; two steps forward one fallback
wind our watches to a hollow heart’s mis-timing
as you’re from Autumn, I am Summer’s daughter
unknot our silent truths and string them on the water.
“This must be familiar to you.”
He says as we exit the station
and my head could hit the tunnel top if I jumped.
I tell him I used to, but not even my fingers could scrape
the dripping ceiling then
and remember when four footsteps took me ‘cross one slab.
Though now it’s three or less when I hit the pavement lines.
I’d watch my shadow stretch from under station lamplights
then trample myself, retreat and for a few more bounds I’d lead.
And when it rained the tarmac glittered white among the orange.
I ballerina leaped to land among the silver but it always creeped
a few small feet ahead, so that you’d have to dip your toe instead.
“So this is your town,”
he says as we tread the exit down
“are you happy?”
Pieces of London, Part 4
You were hooked, reeled down
brown grey carpet corridors
in a choice not all yours between the park or a new place.
The doorman doesn’t know your face
and laughs, you write your name in the wrong box.
Coats off, then shoes and phones.
Unpick shirts from winter tights and sink -
creeping through hair and dinosaur books
until the free-fall into elbow creases pierces
my stomach in a jolt:
We swim your limbs.
Blubbing, thrashing at the bait
driving the hook deeper in our brains.
Stitched bone-to-bone, the line unreeling
or only sardines dreaming.
Pieces of London, Part 3
I bend over backwards in the upturned bowl, spilling
cardigans over grass-flecked shoes
that cut hyde park corner clean in two
and see you both,
We fancy-dress, my mother’s scarf around your neck
and watch the boxes carved into the curves
of the honey coloured hive.
As I guess compositions
through my third eye, I hope you don’t find me strange
frames of your curls caught on the ceiling.
Pieces of London, Part 2
I made sure you both had equal share
in my records of that day
deleting anything that gave us away, outcropping
knees knocking in corners.
But there’s one that sticks:
we set alarms so as not to miss the queue
fell backwards into warm grass arms, long sun
I scoop my frightened face from contact lenses
counter-sigh and well,
what the hell.
And when the grass tried growing through our noses
we sprang up, daisies flushed red
and laughed at him zipping up our secret
in lime green, crinkling.
Waterproofed and waiting for the rain
we ran but missed the train.
hand-holding with the kettle
boiling but I wait for the flick switch click,
a gentle nudging of the white line
at the point of orange, cautious now
and looking up
the quiet whispered shiver through the trees
before the gust wind howls
it was six thousand miles ago
and a half a second gap between our teeth
Pieces of London, Part 1.
The back of the jacket is you.
Held away from your frame by the man it belonged to
before it was yours, he must have been broad shouldered
as he walked out of the tube
and right past me on the same street, probably.
A conversation starter is my second step, the third
I’m at the end your sleeve; a timepiece, your wreck.
Then your features twist and it’s shocking. My eyes slip,
dragged down, caught just in time by fingers on waterfall buttons.
I never do see much of your face.
It’s hushed, the hollow station,
first crisp cold of a new October
as your rag-doll dances over.
Mind the gap, lightfooted in what’s left of
battered summer shoes.
Felt faced, you’re in a good mood.
I clasped the back of your waistcoat, chiffon slipping
through fingers to catch floating hands
everything quite so new.
Tweed on the radiator bristles against the heat
and the warm floor, in matching corduroy sucked to the carpet
sour tongue and I’m over the sink
then bread rolls, rolling into arms and faces lose their charm
in place of gait and elbows,
ears I whisper secrets into.
Room to room I’m holding up the walls
that tower, spiral in a party-popper shower